“One day you’re treating a pee-wee hockey player and then ten years later, you’re treating an NHL player,” explains Dr. John Vargo. His clinic, Sarnia Chiropractic and Performance Centre, located at 167 Exmouth Street, has treated some of the world’s top athletes. Born and raised in Sarnia, Dr. Vargo always knew that he would settle here. He studied at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto before returning to open his practice in Sarnia. The current location was established nine years ago. “When we were adding more practitioners, we needed more space. How many people can say that their office is located in a park and that you can see the waterfront from their office window?”

The team includes Dr. Jeff Hodgins, Dr. Mike Anning, Dr. Katie Baert and massage therapist Eric Corda. Dr. Vargo treated some of them as patients before they joined the practice. “We’ve grown the practice at a steady pace. We have a great group of people that work well together.” Sarnia-Lambton has a need for this facility and expertise because we have so many athletes at all levels. Whether he is treating world-class athletes or recreational sportsmen, Dr. Vargo’s process is the same. “Our goal is to treat people, but also to give them the tools so that they are self-reliant.” Accessibility is very important to the clinic’s patients. “If an athlete was injured yesterday, they need to be seen today. They can’t wait two weeks for an appointment. This is where a group practice is really effective. If I am away one day, someone else on our team can assess them and start treatment right away and then communicate with me about their progress.”

In 2016, Dr. Vargo travelled to Rio De Janiero as part of the Canadian Olympic team’s medical team. “It was a phenomenal honour to go to the Olympics. It’s quite humbling to have the opportunity to go to the biggest sporting event in the world.” The selection process was intense. “To join the medical staff for these type of events, you are handpicked to participate based on your skill package and experience. They watch not only how you treat, but how you interact with other medical staff. You have to be a cohesive unit to be successful. It’s a phenomenal thing to be sequestered for a month with a group of people like that. The learning and sharing that happens is incredible. Everyone shares their knowledge.”

Dr. Vargo was elated to witness Derek Drouin win the gold medal in high jump. “When you go to the Olympics and the person you know the best wins a gold medal, it’s an unbelievable experience. I will never forget the day that Derek won the gold. I remember treating him when he was 11 years old. He got hit in the knee with a slapshot playing hockey. Who would have known that all those years later, I would get to travel half-way around the world and watch him win a gold medal?”